Viral TikTok trainspotter Francis Bourgeois hits back at claims he’s “faking it”

Isaac McIntyre
Francis Bourgeois on two TikTok videos.
TikTok: Francis Bourgeois

Viral TikToker and avid trainspotter Francis Bourgeois has come out swinging against accusations he’s “faking”  his overjoyed act to get more clicks on the social media app after old images of the star resurfaced this month.

The internet’s most wholesome TikTok star, English trainspotting aficionado Francis Bourgeois, has moved to derail recent suggestions he’s a “fake.”

Bourgeois, whose real name is actually Luke Nicholson, barreled into internet stardom earlier this year via an infectious laugh and head-mounted camera, with the star uploading TikTok videos of himself watching carriages, trains, and steam engines from bridges, stations, and even farmyards.

The star’s overjoyed attitude to trains and hilarious TikTok antics earned him a huge following on the social app ⁠— 1.9 million, to be exact ⁠— with many calling him “the most wholesome man in England.” 

Recently, however, he’s been dubbed a “fake.”

The recent TikTok accusations, which Bourgeois denies, have arisen after old images of Nicholson dressed as a roadman emerged on Twitter in mid-December.

An image of Francis Bourgeois from TikTok
TikTok: Francis Bourgeois / Pixabay
Bourgeois has been forced to defend his validity on TikTok.

In an Instagram video, noticeably filmed from a regular height and angle, Nicholson addressed claims he is simply playing a character, and that the whole trainspotting TikTok account is a long-drawn-out parody.

“I’ve seen many doubting my authenticity,” he said.

“I believe these came from images from when I was younger. I’d like to take you back to that time. I started a new school in Year 7, and my favorite thing to do was to come home and play with my model railway. But I realized I was experiencing feelings of loneliness, so I decided to try and fit in more at school.

“I gelled my hair,” he said, sharing images of his childhood, “and decided to sell my model railway to fund my gym membership. I even wore roadman clothes, but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t making me happy.

“Lockdown happened, my hair grew out and I reclaimed my love for trains. And honestly, chasing trains really feels like the shackles are off and I’m totally free.”

Watch the TikTok video here if it fails to load.

Nicholson’s real name may not be Francis Bourgeois, but the 20-year-old is adamant Bourgeois is “not just some character” he’s playing. The only real forgery is the pseudonym, which comes from one of King George III’s court painters.

The accusations were sparked online after images of Nicholson wearing a beanie, “roadman” attire, and silver chains were uncovered. Fans also claimed he was a fake due to the fact he attended raves at Manchester’s Warehouse Project and has a Spotify song called “Whatley Quarry.”

He concluded: “I love showing you guys how awesome trains can be. And, as well as trainspotting, I love doing other things, like going to festivals and having fun.”